ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan left for Sri Lanka today, Tuesday, accompanied by the country’s foreign minister and advisers on commerce and overseas Pakistanis, the PM office said.
Khan will be in Sri Lanka on February 23 and 24 and hold bilateral talks covering trade and investment, health and education, agriculture and science and technology, defense and security, and culture and tourism. Key regional and international issues will also be discussed, the Pakistani foreign ministry has said.
“This is Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first visit to Sri Lanka since taking office,” Khan’s office said in a statement. “Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet the President of Sri Lanka and his counterpart.”
“Memorandums of Understanding will be signed between the two countries on various issues,” the statement added. “The Prime Minister will also attend the Joint Trade and Investment Conference.”
On Monday, Rohan Welliwita, media secretary to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, told Arab News Sri Lanka and Pakistan would sign at least seven memorandums of understanding during Khan’s visit.
“Premier Imran Khan is making his maiden visit as prime minister to our country; this is a landmark visit which will open a new chapter in Lanka-Pak relations,” Welliwita said. “A total of seven agreements will be signed at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Temple Trees [official residence of Sri Lankan PM].”
“They [agreements] are still under process and we cannot tell the nature of the accords unless both parties finalize them by Tuesday afternoon,” Welliwitta added.
The Pakistan-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Forum, organized by the Pakistani Ministry of Commerce and the country’s High Commission in Colombo, will be held at the Shangri-La Hotel on Wednesday, where Khan is scheduled to woo the island’s business magnates to invest in Pakistan.
Last week, a spokesperson for the Sri Lanka parliament told Arab News the visiting prime minister’s address before the legislature was canceled due to a “tight schedule.”
In a Twitter message ahead of the visit, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister,Mahinda Rajapaksa, said:
“Look forward to welcoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan and his delegation in Sri Lanka. This visit will further reinforce our bilateral relationship and pave the way for joint ventures that mutually benefit both our nations.”
Look forward to welcoming the Prime Minister of #Pakistan @ImranKhanPTI and his delegation in #SriLanka next week. This visit will further reinforce our bilateral relationship and pave way for joint ventures that mutually benefit both our nations. https://t.co/2nm8IVaU9i
— Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) February 20, 2021
In his reply, Khan wrote: “Thank you for your invitation Prime Minister Rajapaksa. Looking forward to my visit to further strengthen the friendship and cooperation between our two countries.”
Thank you for your invitation Prime Minister @PresRajapaksa. Looking forward to my visit to to further strengthen the friendship & cooperation between our two countries.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 20, 2021